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Rinehart Jewelry Blog

January 2nd, 2024
If you're one of the more than eight million viewers who tune into Wheel of Fortune every night, you witnessed in real time what might be the worst blunder of the syndicated show's 41 seasons. If you did not see the December 22 episode, here's what went down — and, yes, there is a jewelry connection.


During Pat Sajak's introduction of contestant Gwen Hardy, we learned that the US Navy flight surgeon from Yuma, AZ, had recently accepted her now-fiancé's marriage proposal on top of a mountain during a 100-mile hike through the Alps.

Then, moments later, with all the vowels bought up and only three letters remaining in a puzzle that read, “SURPRISE _ARRIA_E PROPOSA_”, Hardy confidently told Sajak that she was ready to solve. Slam dunk? Right?

Without hesitation, she blurted out "Surprise Carriage Proposal."


Sajak was silent, the buzzer sounded, the studio audience groaned and Hardy hung her head in shame, realizing her epic mistake. The correct answer would have earned her $8,250.

“I know," Sajak finally interjected. "Sometimes you get excited and your mouth doesn’t say what your brain intended. I’m sorry.”

Instead, Ron Panner, a therapist and amateur magician from Shorewood, IL, guessed "Surprise Marriage Proposal" and won the round.

Later, Sajak tried to lighten the load of Hardy's emotional trauma on national TV, stating, “Well, you know, you watch the show, and stuff happens like that sometimes. But here’s the rule, and you know this, Gwen, as a flight surgeon, put that behind you. That’s done, nothing you can do.”

Fans of the show weren't as empathetic as the popular host, expressing on X (formerly Twitter) that Hardy's goof-up was one for the ages.

One user commented, “Can anybody recommend a good carriage counselor?” while another wrote, “Can’t wait for my partner to surprise me with a carriage proposal!”

Despite her cringeworthy mistake, Hardy still took home a very respectable $11,150 in winnings.

Host Sajak, 77, is finishing out his final season on Wheel of Fortune, where he's shared the spotlight with letter-turner Vanna White since 1982. White will be working with the new host, Ryan Seacrest.

Credits: Screen captures via YouTube.